Le Maillon Theater, Strasbourg, France / LAN Architecture

Deeply rooted within contemporary creation and at the crossing point of performing arts, the vocation of Le Maillon theatre was to reach outside of its walls and extract the performing arts world from its occasional elitist position. In the end, the ephemeral nature of its original structure became an asset, profoundly modeling Le Maillon’s identity.

This is not a theatre… could sum up our approach. This project’s aim is to conceive more than a place: a genuine artistic machine, where stage acting and its grounds of production meet.

The project substitutes the traditional composition based on the foyer – rooms – logistics triad for the idea of a territory mainly constituted with free spaces, as many blank sheets to reveal and activate. Therefore, this theatre’s project becomes an equivalent of city planning, with which our concern is to define and design plots without constraining its development.

Forming a framework to be able to receive all the considered scenarios, a grid enhances these voids’ flexibility and creates places with a wide range of potential uses. Thus the virtual space created can be “updated” according to its inhabitants’ needs and expectations. The wall fitting this framework becomes what defines both these voids’ status and character; the element that testifies the transition from design to architecture.

Interior – exterior / Inside – outside / Entrance – exit / Private – public
Volume – void / Open – closed / Day – night / To show – to hide / To see – to be seen

Architecture can be thought as the junction between two antithetic spaces. A project’s significance is to be found in the swaying from one of these notions to the other, in the modality of this transition and its graduality. We believe the window can characterize and express this connection, by defining or suppressing these alterities: it is the place of desire and encounter, where a thing’s beauty and essence can be revealed.

On the outside, facades facing the public space become the interface, to which Le Maillon’s history can be perpetuated. An alternation of volumes and voids give rhythm to the building’s skin, composed of colored concrete and large windows looking out to the city.

The geography and location of the project invited us to pursue the logic initiated by the urban project, making up an articulation by stitching up the surrounding elements. From the main axes, the initial extrusion was carved in order to obtain a volume culminating at the end of the Schutzenberger avenue, creating an angle for the Adrien Zeller piazza and an urban beacon from the Jean Wenger Valentin street.

From the outside, this volume suggests a mysterious interiority, changing along with daylights and nightlights. It is a territory of contrasts, surprises, a spatial maze, a landscape articulated between courtyards and terraces. Inside, Piranesian public spaces link together the different rooms, reception space and streets.

Façades form light filters allowing the sight to reach the city, the park and surrounding architecture. At night, they become screens by releasing colorful projection of images, as if they were printed on glass.

Abstraction is overcome by figuration, the constant completed by the ephemeral. Each place becomes a discovery, each detail an invention. The pursuit of Architecture is just the same as stage acting: to move and delight one’s heart.

Project Details:
Location: Place Adrien Zeller, Strasbourg, France
Type: Cultural Public
Area: 7 017m²
Built-up Area: 4 769m²
Planning: 2013-2017
Client: Strasbourg City Council
Architects: LAN Architecture
Team: LAN (mandatory architect), TERRELL (Framework and fluids engineers), FRANCK BOUTTE consultants (sustainable engineers), Bureau Michel Forgue (Quantity surveyor), Lamoureux (acoustics), Changement à vue (Scenography)

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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